Grapes (Vitis vinifera) are berries that are grow on a vine. They are round or oval in shape that come in variety of colors and sizes. Depending on the variety, there are grapes with seeds, and some seedless, tasting from sweet to sour.
Grape are delicious when consumed fresh, but they can also be enjoyed as juice, jelly, raisins, or wine. Grape is native to Western Asia and Central Europe where these regions are known as the motherlands of grapes. There are more than 10.000 varieties of grapes in the world today. Some common varieties of grapes are blue, black, red, green, and purple.
As well as being tasty, grapes are a storehouse of numerous health benefits, from preventing cancer to improving eyesight and brain power.
Grapes contain vitamins C, A, K and B2, copper, potassium, iron, folate and fiber. They are also high in antioxidant, as well as phytonutrients, especially phenols and polyphenols. Although all types of grapes are packed with nutrients and antioxidants, red grapes and Concord grapes are higher in flavonoids and phytonutrients.
Health Benefits of Grapes
1. Prevent cancer
Many studies have shown that grapes and grape-based products are excellent sources of various anti-cancer agents. According to a 2008 Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, the resveratrol found in grape skins have been linked to inhibiting breast cancer cell growth. A 2014 study published in Nutrition and Cancer also found that a compound in grape seed extract blocked prostate cancer cell growth.
2. Reduce heart disease risk
The polyphenol found in grapes have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing platelet build-up and maintaining healthy blood flow. In addition, the fiber and potassium present in grapes also support heart health by lowering LDL cholesterol.
3. Improve eyesight
Grapes can help prevent age-related loss of vision and macular degeneration. Research suggests that regular grape consumption may play a role in eye health by protecting the retina from deterioration. Specifically, a grape-enriched diet resulted in a protective effect on retinal structure and function.
Moreover, their anti-inflammatory property helps reduce inflammatory protein levels and increases the number of protective proteins in the retina.
4. Improve brain power
Grapes are also good for your cognitive health. The resveratrol in grapes increases blood flow to the brain and improves mental responses.
Studies suggest that eating grapes regularly can improve brain power and prevent age-related memory decline. Grapes can even delay the onset of degenerative neural diseases like dementia. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition claims that grape juice can even improve the brain function of older people who have already displayed mild cognitive impairment.
5. Reduce diabetes risk
Grapes consumption may help to improve the functioning of the cells that produce insulin and reduce your risk for diabetes. This effect may be due to grape skins’ high resveratrol content. According to a 2015 article in Biochimica Biophysica Acta, resveratrol improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in animal studies.
6. Maintain bone health
Grapes are a good source of vitamin K. This vitamin plays an important role in keeping bones strong by improving bone calcium retention. One cup of grapes contains 22 mcg or 28 percent of vitamin K. Grapes also contains boron, required for bone formation and absorption of calcium. Boron helps to prevent osteoporosis during menopause and is good for the bones and joints.
7. Relieve constipation
Grapes contain a significant source of insoluble fiber, which promotes the movement of materials through the digestive system, reducing the likelihood of painful, difficult-to-pass stools. If you suffer from chronic constipation, grapes are the fruit for you.
8. Boost immune system
According to a 2013 study by Oregon State University, red grapes may enhance immune function. The resveratrol found in red grapes plays a key role in boosting the immune system. Moreover, grapes also loaded with vitamin A, C & K that gives you a healthy boost to your immune system, which means less chance of getting common colds, as well as more serious health issues.
9. Aids in weight loss
Grapes serve as a natural source of resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant that might also have some weight loss benefits. Research shows that eating flavonoid-packed fruits like grapes can help maintain a healthy weight and even lead to weight loss. Grapes also offer a small amount of satiating fiber which helps you feel fuller longer.
When selecting grapes, make sure to pick those that are fresh and plump. They should be firmly attached to a healthy stem and not leaking any juice. Avoid those with brown spots, although yellow spots are not necessarily a blemish. Soft grapes with dark spots should be avoided. The primary way to predict sweetness of grapes is via color. The most brightly coloured grapes are often also the sweetest.